When we talk about equitable careers education, we’re talking about an approach that meets students where they are – emotionally, developmentally, culturally, and physically.
Relying on students demonstrating desirable skills and attributes just to access knowledge and support beyond the curriculum creates a division from the start around careers education that only widens over time. Embedding a minimum level of support within the curriculum ensures that students can engage without having to invest any extra time, or possible expense, to access information and experiences to support their aspirations.
Meeting them physically in their classes is only the beginning, however. Ensuring the level and context of the content we’re providing is relevant and engaging is key to supporting students’ understanding of the value of careers education. To support the development of students’ self-awareness, curricular support must empathise with the courses they’re on as well as the wider intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for students on those courses. From this foundation of self-awareness, we can further develop skills around self-motivation and self-advocacy, key for both defining and achieving future success.
But how do students define what success means to them as an individual? Understanding themselves, where they could go, and how they could achieve this requires impartial education, advice, and guidance at every stage and interaction. As HE careers professionals, we support students to make well informed decisions about their career and to align their career plans with their values and ethics. Impartial careers education provides people with the knowledge and skills that they need to self-manage their learning and careers and to make informed choices that take account of their personal preferences, skills, values, motivations and qualifications.
At Kingston University London, we’re attempting this through our Future Skills Student Journey – a holistic personal and professional development journey anchored in the curriculum. Using our Kingston Graduate Attributes, every student on every course will be assessed on how they’ve demonstrated the Graduate Attributes in different contexts, and their own development year on year. To inform the strategic direction, we’ve run prototype modules over the past year and the feedback from both students and staff has been overwhelmingly positive. Students on the prototypes can already see the benefits of developing a deeper understanding of themselves and each other, and how this will help build their confidence over the course of their degree. Staff have commented on how this year’s cohort has gelled faster than they’ve seen in previous years.
Alongside the curriculum, we are also launching our Kingston Career Communities, which aim to support both students and graduates through encouraging networking, communication and career exploration.
Through this holistic approach, we will equip our students and graduates with an understanding of themselves and their values, professionalism, and labour market information thereby maximising their confidence, awareness, and ability to set and achieve personal career goals.
Engaging with employers will be a key part of the opportunities provided through the programme. All students will have the chance to take part in live projects, assessment centre simulations and graduate expos. This will create opportunities for employers to engage with students as part of their course, rather than as an optional extra.